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to withdraw contact (another MIL thread!)

(27 Posts)
tryhard Sat 21-May-16 14:50:46

This surely has been done to death but I really want objective views on whether what I am considering doing is UR or not. MIL has always been rude and offensive, I've gotten by the 10 years we've been together by biting my tongue. DH has historically defended his DM saying I'm too sensitive and there's no malice, it's just insensitivity/being a bit socially inept, and also saying that if we challenged her on it, she'd simply withdraw. Anyway, recently she's said a couple of things, 1 aimed at my sons and 1 at a member of my family, which I couldn't ignore. I called her out on it and, as DH predicted, she withdrew and sulked. Just as I was calming down and thinking I need to be the grown up here, she says something spiteful about 1 of my sons which really upset me. Now my gut instinct here is to withdraw my contact - so not be around when they FaceTime, not send photos anymore to keep her up to date with how the boys are doing (they don't live near). I know if I do withdraw, DSs will see a lot less of her as they all rely on me to do the organising of family trips there or for them to come to our house, but is this fair on DSs? They don't have any Grandparents on my side and although she does make these nasty comments, otherwise she is lovely to them and ofcourse they adore her because she'stheir Grandma. And yet...she's vicious and I'm sick of passive aggressive criticisms of me and my family, and the most recent comment was said in front of my eldest who is now old enough to be hurt by what is being said...AIBU to withdraw my contact with her and invite DH and MIL to organise seeing the DC between themselves?

OTheHugeManatee Sat 21-May-16 14:52:51

Hard to say without knowing what she said.

blackbunny Sat 21-May-16 15:02:02

I think DH should be demanding an immediate apology for your DS from her.If this doesn't happen,he can organise all future contact for himself and DC with her,she sounds very unpleasant and if I were in your position I would not want to see her again

WorraLiberty Sat 21-May-16 15:06:07

I think your OP is far too one sided really.

Without knowing what she said, I don't think anyone can say whether you're BU or not.

But having said that, your DH should pick up organising contact if you decide to take a step back.

BillSykesDog Sat 21-May-16 15:10:57

I don't think anybody should be forced to spend time with anyone who makes them actively unhappy. So if you don't want to see her don't.

However you say your DC adore her and your DH seems to have a good relationship with her so it would be unfair to include them in that. I think the best thing all round would be for you to tell DH that he has to sort visits, outings etc in the future because you are giving her a wide berth. He's an adult, he should be able to sort it himself.

tryhard Sat 21-May-16 15:12:59

Sorry I don't mean to obscure, I judt don't want to say too much for fear of being outted in RL but speaking generally, the one comment was about a vulnerable family member whom she thinks doesn't 'deserve' support from the state (our politics arr hugely different and this has caused nasty rows in the past) and a comment about weight, which my eldest DS did hear but fortunately didn't seem to register. So nothing horrendous (given the other MIL thread going on st the moment!) but certainly nasty, upsetting and offensive, not things I would want my boys to overhear or opinions I'd want them to share.

louisatwo Sat 21-May-16 15:22:11

They don't have any Grandparents on my side and although she does make these nasty comments, otherwise she is lovely to them and ofcourse they adore her because she'stheir Grandma

This ^ should be your priority. Families can be difficult and challenging and exhausting but I am a bit aghast at how many people on Mumsnet are deciding to cut all contact with their older relatives (especially MILs but PILs and parents as well). I suspect that many of these older relatives would have their own tales were we to hear their voices. I'm not suggesting you passively accept nasty comments - you may need to prepare some assertive feedback but isn't the happiness of your children your priority??Children need to understand that people have different views and that's fine - all part f the rich pattern etc.... I had very different political views to my parents and my adult children have different views to me. And we share them vigorously!
Be exasperated, rant a bit in private, think about how to improve things..... but cutting out your children's beloved grandmother from their lives because she pisses you off - really?

WutheringTights Sat 21-May-16 15:34:07

I don't see why it should be down to you to facilitate contact with someone who is unpleasant to you. It doesn't sound like she's bad enough to ban contact with your sons completely unless there's more to the story but I see nothing wrong with you refusing to organise it. Let her son organise contact between her and her grandchildren. It's not your responsibility. If she wants to spend time with you then she'll have to behave with more respect. I wouldn't go out of my way to spend time with someone who made nasty comments about me and my family.

NeverbuytheDailyMail Sat 21-May-16 15:34:22

From what you have written I don't think it has gotten to NC stage yet. But I would have serious words or encourage husband to have serious words about what is and is not appropriate to say in front of the children. Having different political views is fine but personalising them to insult your family is not. I suppose ultimately, you may have to weigh up whether having a grandparent at all is worth having a grandparent who makes the child feel bad about him or herself. I'm afraid if there were constant and repeated dig at my children or attempts to undermine me by mentioning my size in front of my children, despite being warned, then I would ultimately stop the relationship.

HirplesWithHaggis Sat 21-May-16 15:36:00

I'm with Louisatwo here - your dc will hear alternate opinions and form their own, and they won't necessarily match yours. There are many things about which I disagree with my own mum, and my MIL, but we just don't discuss such matters (though I did once put the phone down on mum when she was being particularly homophobic). This does limit conversation, but it's nowhere near bad enough to withdraw contact.

Sorry, OP, but I think you need to keep gritting your teeth and smiling.

And rant about it here if it all gets too much. flowers brew wine cake

Theymakemefeelstressed Sat 21-May-16 15:40:03

Compared to others it may not be as bad but she sounds like my mother. Little nasty spiteful comments. One on its own is not much to get worked up about but it is one after the other an eventually there is the one that broke the camel's back.

Protect you DC. The older they get the more they will understand. My DC are under no illusion where they rank and I have always made a point of not saying anything in front of them -they have worked in out because my mother can't keep her gob shut.

Floisme Sat 21-May-16 15:41:52

You're thinking of withdrawing contact because you don't like her politics?
Excuse me but what the fuck?

I might not like her views either but it's through overhearing discussion, arguments and yes, sometimes things you find offensive that you form your own opinions.

The comments about weight: not on. Tell her.

That aside, she's your husband's mum not yours so he should be the one organising contact. Otherwise your kids are in danger of growing up thinking this is the woman's job.

BillSykesDog Sat 21-May-16 15:42:02

I don't think OP is suggesting withdrawing contact for the DC or DH. Just herself, but is worrying that then her DH won't take the initiative to sort out seeing his DM.

Actually, I suspect if she did he would pretty quickly start doing it. He just takes for granted that she does it and if she didn't he would soon start.

It sounds to me like a bit of a clash of personalities and a difference in DHs family's expectations of behaviour compared to the OP.

They just don't like each other. Far better to avoid each other than dutifully put up with each other when you don't like each other.

OP, do you think perhaps a limited withdrawal of contact would work? So stay out of FaceTime and the duty visits, but put up with each other when it's essential? Big family occasions, the odd birthday etc?

BillSykesDog Sat 21-May-16 15:48:42

I'm not sure the comment about the weight is that bad. I know that if me or my kids were starting to get a bit porky my DM would tell me because she can be blunt with me and tell me things I need to hear. Perhaps OPs family wouldn't do that, but the nature of having in laws is that you do have to put up with families who do things differently and feel differently about boundaries etc.

MIL is actually with her family so she's behaving in the way she would in a family situation. Which it appears in this situation includes being a bit blunt. OP doesn't really like that, which is also perfectly fine - that's her way of doing things too. Doesn't seem like the twain is going to meet on this one, so the OP is quite right a wide berth is probably the best option. I don't think either is wrong here, just very different.

Floralnomad Sat 21-May-16 15:48:54

Only you know how you feel , i was in a similar situation but with local Inlaws and eventually my DH told them a few home truths and they decided that they no longer wanted any communication with me ,which was fine as I felt exactly the same . At that time we had a DS (4) who DH still took over to see them ,we then went on to have dd and they also got to see her when DH took the DC over - but it was not frequent . My DC are now 23 and 16 , DS has seen her ( FIL now dead) twice in the last 4 years and dd has decided she is no longer going over there this year so they will only see her if DH brings her to our house if I'm out . I'm sure lots of people will say we went NC over stupid things / arguments but frankly when someone is constantly rude and undermining you it gets very wearing very quickly and it's been the saviour of both my sanity and probably my marriage .Do what you think is best for you ,they are not your family and you are not saying they can't see the DC you are just not going to facilitate it yourself .

tryhard Sat 21-May-16 16:09:03

Sorry yes to clarify I'm not suggesting going NC, I'm considering me stopping facilitating contact, which would force DH and MIL to organise contact with DC between themselves, whereas they rely on me to do it at the moment (yes we're in next Sunday, the boys are doing football, do you want to watch, that kind of thing). But also the nice things that help to keep her feeling involved, like sending photos and little video clips of the boys. And ofcourse I'm not suggesting NC due to a difference in politics - in fact my FIL and I have great debates over politics all the time (his align with hers) but he stops at making it personal, she bought my family into it and started throwing around insults about them, it felt very vicious. The weight thing was actually about one of my sons (he heard what she said), though she always comments on my weight when she visits (she knows I've had an eating disorder in the past & even I recognise my weight is too low at the moment so it doesn't need pointing out). The awful thing is she can be lovely, to me as well as the boys, and yet every time we speak or see eachother, there will be at least one thing that will really hurt my feelings and make me feel attacked in my own home, yet when I challenge her on it, I'm accused of being oversensitive.

ollieplimsoles Sat 21-May-16 16:22:46

Yes, let your dh do all the organising and facilitating visits and withdraw from her for a while.

She still gets the see the dc, her son gets to do the organising.

She upsets you, you don't owe her anything

Floisme Sat 21-May-16 16:48:21

Absolutely let your husband organise contact. He should be doing it anyway.

But is it you she upsets or your sons? If you're not there, they're still going to hear this stuff but you won't be there to argue the other side or even speak up for them.

OTheHugeManatee Sat 21-May-16 17:30:37

It sounds like a clash of personalities rather than her necessarily being evil or wrong. YANBU to step back a bit but I'd resist the temptation to make it dramatically obvious if you can - just have headaches, deflect organising duties casually onto your husband and be very polite when you do see each other.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 21-May-16 17:37:47

Your DH should be organising contact and sending all the little updates even if she were super lovely. Why are you doing his work for him?

Please don't tell me you buy birthday cards for his family members too.

It is odd, man-babying behaviour. He sorts out his own family because it takes effort and they are his family so the effort should be his.

Gide Sat 21-May-16 17:40:03

Who have you challenged about it? Your mil or just moaned to your DH? I would be a passive aggressive bitch back and stop facilitating/sending videos etc. Let DH organise seeing his own DM.

If you haven't actually spoken to mil re her nasty comments, then do so-mumsnet 'Did you mean to be so rude?' might not be enough. You might have to go for the jugular with immediate responses to any comments you don't appreciate, particularly personal comments on weight/disabled people being entitled to support etc. She'd get both barrels from me.

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 21-May-16 18:00:11

WutheringTights "I don't see why it should be down to you to facilitate contact with someone who is unpleasant to you."

^^ This

You are not preventing her from seeing her grandchildren. You're just leaving it to her son to do the running.

Perhaps, the effort involved will make him wish he had made the effort to stop her making digs at you. Or more likely, he'll put the same amount of effort into it and she will have something new to complain about. You reap what you sow.

MerdTheFuck Sat 21-May-16 18:01:25

Yes, leave him to sort it out in future.

Having said that, given that she's an insensitive cow to you, I'd say you have a big DH problem actually.

No one should have to deal with someone being mean to them systematically like this - in any other situation it would be called bullying and wouldn't be ok. It's not magically fine because you're now related.

Work on detaching and not giving a toss about her behaviour in future, and being a good example yourself to your kids. Remember to roll your eyes and say something isn't acceptable anymore if they repeat some overtly racist or disablist tripe from her - and call your DH on it too. They'll get the message.

Protect yourself and make it clear to your kids how to deal with difficult people in future life by being polite but backing the fuck away...

BillSykesDog Sat 21-May-16 18:05:30

Actually, if you say she can be lovely sometimes, I would try challenging her again. But use her own methods. Be absolutely blunt. Tell her what you've said on here. That the things she says hurt you and you find them rude and that you are getting to the point where you're going to have to withdraw from the relationship.

Tell her that you feel that you are expected to make all the effort by tolerating her bluntness, yet she makes no effort to show similar tolerance for what she sees as your over sensitivity.

And say to her that if it hurts to hear this blunt assessment of her behaviour, then she should realise that this is how it makes you feel when she gives her own blunt assessment of your family/weight/children. And she might want to ponder on that and consider how hearing uncomfortable 'truths' makes the hearer feel. Perhaps suggest if she doesn't like hearing it she is being a bit over sensitive? grinsmile

tryhard Sat 21-May-16 19:51:02

No what she has said so far hasn't upset my sons because they are too young but I can see it will, I've cringed at some of things she's said to my niece in law, a 10 year old, for example. So at the moment it's just a case of hurting my feelings. To be fair, this time with the comment about my relative, my DH immediately had a go at her because what she said was so awful. To the comment about man-babying, please have some empathy & subtly, life isn't black & white like that (ie you're a doormat and he's an arse). By sending photos & details of the little things in their lives, I'm trying to forge a bond, I don't have the parents to send those little things to, I do it to try to nurture the relationship for them (not for me) and she always responds positively to things like that. That's why it's so confusing and hurtful when I get vicious comments, because otherwise she's lovely. But when she's nasty, it really hurts.

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